CAPTION: A Grade I listed rural Parish Church in South Hams has been awarded a grant for restoration and reordering of the church as a continuing place of worship

Rural Church Receives Grant Which Will Help Bring The Community Together

Posted: 31st July, 2020

St Sylvester’s Church in Chivelstone, Devon has received a grant of £384,300 from The National Lottery Heritage Fund for its Renovation and Community project.

The church hopes the project will bring together all the different age groups within the community.

The project will focus on weatherproofing the church to preserve its medieval heritage and enable it to be used by the whole community for open days, concerts, plays and events.

The Ven. Douglas Dettmer, Archdeacon of Totnes, said: “This is the fruit of hugely imaginative and committed work by a small PCC and other local supporters and is a most significant achievement indeed.”

The grant will allow significant repairs to be made to the building to ensure that the important medieval woodwork in the church, which reflects both the local and national heritage, is preserved for future generations.

An 18th-century wall painting at St Sylvester’s

It will enable St Sylvester’s Church to continue to hold services, weddings and funerals in the years to come.

The project will also promote the use of the church for community events with the aim of bringing more people to the church, particularly focusing on the younger generation.

St Sylvester’s is located in the small hamlet of Chivelstone in Devon’s most southerly parish. Its long association with the sea is shown in the graveyard that contains the graves of shipwrecked sailors.

The church is located in the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

This has led to a partnership with the South West Maritime Archaeological Group as well as several local organisations, including the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Together with these organisations, St Sylvester’s will promote appreciation of the environment and knowledge of the important local maritime heritage by holding nature walks and displays in the church.

The church’s unique 15th-century pulpit

The medieval woodwork in the church includes a very fine rood screen, a parclose screen, a medieval barrel roof with carved and painted bosses, 18th-century wall paintings and an extremely unusual 15th-century pulpit carved and painted from a single piece of oak.

Roger Tucker, a local farmer and project Community Representative said: “We are thrilled to have received this support thanks to the National Lottery players. It is one of the most significant events in this parish and will help bring the community together, young and old.”